Chicago Bears OL Depth Chart: Will Darnell Wright and Alex Leatherwood Be Starters?

We cover the Chicago Bears' OL depth chart for 2023, including who will be the starters and top backups at each position.

The Chicago Bears attacked this past offseason knowing they had to improve their offense around quarterback Justin Fields. After producing the 23rd-ranked scoring offense in 2022, that included upgrades to the offensive line and wide receiver unit. The Bears succeeded, adding two new starters.

We dive into the Bears’ offensive line depth chart and project who will be the starters and backups in 2023.

Chicago Bears OL Depth Chart

Building depth along any offensive line is incredibly difficult. There’s a shortage of quality five-man starting units across the NFL, let alone teams having competent backups. The Bears, under second-year general manager Ryan Poles, have taken proper lengths in recent years to become a better team in the trenches.

The best starter on Chicago’s offensive line is also the eldest. Center Cody Whitehair has been with the franchise since being drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Though he’s played at both guard spots and center previously, Whitehair appeared slower at LG in 2022. Poles said the signing of free agent Nate Davis made it an easy decision to slide Whitehair back to center.

Davis, formerly of the Tennessee Titans, was signed to a three-year, $30 million deal. Poles lauded Davis’ “elite run blocking” upon the signing, and his addition allows the team to start their five best players regardless of position.

Last year, the Bears produced the best rushing attack in the NFL, and these two moves will help them repeat that level of production.

MORE: Are the Chicago Bears a Bottom-5 Offense Heading Into 2023?

Adding Davis also means Teven Jenkins will flip from the right guard spot to the left guard opening. The 2021 second-round pick confirmed this, and he’ll now play his third different position in three years. As a rookie, Jenkins played six games at tackle before settling in as a nice starting guard in 2022.

The other new starter is right tackle Darnell Wright. The massive RT was selected ninth overall in the 2023 NFL Draft from Tennessee and is another bruising, downhill mauler like Davis. Head coach Matt Eberflus called Wright “the best lineman in the draft” because of his unique blend of physicality and athleticism.

Only one starter from 2022 is returning to their previous positions. As a former fifth-round selection, left tackle Braxton Jones has been a surprisingly good development as Fields’ blindside protector.

Bears Offensive Line Backups

It’s not uncommon for a team’s backup offensive linemen to be unheralded, and the Bears’ situation isn’t any different. Chicago has a mixture of late-round draft picks and undrafted free agents whom they’re hoping to develop in case someone needs to play in an emergency. The lone veteran is backup center Lucas Patrick.

MORE: Chicago Bears DL Depth Chart 2023

The backup tackle positions are especially concerning. The Bears added former Las Vegas Raiders first-round bust Alex Leatherwood to compete at tackle and guard with 2021 fifth-rounder Larry Borom and UDFAs Kellen Diesch, Josh Lugg, and Robert Haskins. Borom has played in 13 games with nine starts and is considered a right tackle only.

With Borom at RT, there’s a critical need for Chicago to unearth a decent backup for Jones at LT, but the candidates are underwhelming.

The interior guard depth is also concerning. The only drafted backup guard on the roster is 2022 seventh-rounder Ja’Tyre Carter. Rookies Gabriel Houy and Lorenz Metz will compete with Carter, Dieter Eiselen, and possibly Leatherwood to make the final roster.

The Bears have to scour the waiver wire after the preseason in order to improve its depth along the offensive line. Though it’s fine to rely on unheralded talent, there’s nothing to suggest Chicago can survive if any one of their starters goes down for a significant amount of time.

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